“Who on Earth is this Bill Shorten character?” was the cry that rang out across the country yesterday as news spread that the little-known federal member for Maribyrnong had been caught on camera calling hard-right Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi a “homophobe”.
Bernardi has caused controversy by pushing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to investigate a New South Wales school anti-bullying program aimed at helping LGBTI students on grounds it “indoctrinates kids with Marxist cultural relativism”. Investigations by The (un)Australian revealed this refers to alleged “social engineering”, rather than teaching students to prefer Rage Against The Machine to Taylor Swift.
The incident happened while Shorten, who has so far flown under the radar in his time in parliament, was giving a rare press conference. The right-wing Christian senator passed-by and accused Shorten of being a “fraud”.
The quick-thinking Labor MP shot back, “At least I’m not a homophobe”, winning plaudits from a pleasantly surprised nation, left wondering where the likes of Shorten have been in recent years.
“Wow, cool comment, but a bit unexpected from someone in one of the two major parties?” voters said in a statement released today. “I mean, imagine if we had a leader of the Opposition taking clear cut principled stances like this! LOL, like that’ll ever happen.”